On Sunday, 27 September, Brian Eno delivered BBC Music's annual John Peel Lecture, selecting as his topic "The Ecology of Culture". In it, Eno stressed the importance of art and culture in society and in individual lives, whilst pushing for a change in attitude toward the humanities subjects. Defining art as "everything you don't have to do" as well as "a safe place for you to have quite extreme and rather dangerous feelings", he urged a re-consideration of the arts "not as a little add-on, a bit of luxury, but as the central thing". He goes on to list these central things: Symphonies, perfume, sports cars, graffiti, needlepoint, monuments, tattoos, slang, Ming vases, doodles, poodles, apple strudels. Still life, Second Life, bed knobs and boob jobs. All of those things are sort of unnecessary in the sense that we could all survive without doing any of them, but in fact we don't. We all engage with them. So the first question is why is any of that important? Why do we do it? And notice it's not only us relatively wealthy people in terms of global wealth who are doing it. It's everybody that we know of. Every human group we know is spending a lot of their time – in fact almost all of their surplus time and energy – in the act of stylising things and enjoying other people's stylisations of things. The whole lecture is immensely rich in such insights, and in the many unseen ways art and culture move us. Read it in its entirety here.
Before Eno hit up the John Peel Lecture, he also paid a visit to John Peel's Peel Acres, the late DJ's vast archive of records. There, he picked, chose and put together a Record Box for johnpeelarchive.com, including his favourite cuts like Captain Beefheart's Clear Spot, Silver Apples' Contact and everyone's favourite Velvet Underground album. "This is probably one of the greatest music archives in the world, so I'm doing this for selfish reasons really... I don't care if you never actually use it," says he. They did use it; have a gander at his Record Box here. And check this clip out for more coverage of Eno at Peel Acres.